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Close ny Chollagh

Also known as, or recorded in historical documents as;
Close ny Chollaugh

In the parish of Malew.
On the Isle of Man.

OS Map Grid Reference: SC24576709
Latitude 54.06982° Longitude -4.68252°

Close ny Chollagh has been described as a Timber Castle although is doubtful that it was such.

There are earthwork remains.

This site is a archaeological monument protected by law.


First stage of the excavation of a Viking Promontory Fort completed byMr Peter Gelling at Scarlett Farm, Close ny Chollagh Point.
Substantial remains of a large house of Viking type were disclosed.
Work will continue during the summer of '54 (MMNTAR 1954)
A promontory fort with ditch and surrounding bank with a rectangular building inside which falls into the category of Viking or post Viking forts (Bersu 1949).
Of pre Viking date were at least two and perhaps 3 round houses one of which was about 22 ft diam. They had rough paving of limestone slabs. Finds include one bead, some pieces of iron and bronze and part of a jet ring. The rampart which surrounds the site is much older than the Viking house. The ditch outside the rampart was about 20 ft wide and was cut nearly 10 ft into the rock.
Norwegian experts who came to inspect the defensive structures around some of the excavated Viking houses failed to recognise them as Viking. Mr Gelling has proved them to be Celtic - a large rectangular Viking house with walls 5 ft thick was at a higher level than 4 Celtic circular huts. The best preserved of these huts was about 20 ft diam with thick stone walls and nicely paved floor with a drain beneath. In the middle of the floor was a well built square hearth. Finds included a pottery crucible used for smelting bronze of a type c400 AD, beads of glass and shell, a small bone comb and bone pins and needles.
The fort was already in ruins when the Viking house was built. The rampart is 20 ft thick and up to 8 ft high (Gelling 1955).
A small ovoid fort approx 20 x 22m internal width, at a height of 31 ft above sea level. Maximum use has been made of the precipitous rockface in the west and a steep gully in the south west. To complete the defence a semi circular ditch has been cut from the gully in the southwest across the landward side rejoining the cliff face.
In the north the ditch has been mutilated by modern boundary walls and a track. Evidence of excavation but no entrance or internal structures are visible. Mainly grass covered. The interior slopes down from the east to the west. There were no surface finds of archaeological interest. The internal height of the rampart in the south is 1.6m. The width from the top of the rampart to the top of the outer ditch is 12.5m. The height from the top of the rampart to the bottom of the ditch is 2.2m. The outer depth of the ditch is 1.2m. A promontory fort (F1 DE 26 9 55).
The type of circular stone hut, about 20 ft across internally looks prehistoric - almost Late Bronze Age - but the few finds include objects of the 1st - 8th century A.D. The fort was completely ruined before the Viking house was put there, but this is not inconsistent with an A.D. date. Mr Gelling tended to think of it as possibly 5th - 6th century A.D, and this lies about mid-way between the earliest and latest possible dates. I think we can say definitely after the year 1A.D. (Memo (B R S Megaw 5.10.55)).
Close ny Chollagh, a small promontory fort, with ditch and rampart defending its landward side. Excavated in 1953-56. Iron Age circular houses contemporary with the earliest phases of the rampart yielded finds of about the first century B.C, or first century A.D. A long rectangular house of Norse type that the site was re-occupied much later, probably during early medieval times. (House sites now filled in ) Only defensive ditch and rampart now visible (Gelling 1958; Gelling 1971)
"Fort" at SC 245671. This is a small semi-circular enclosure backing on to a low cliff immediately above the sea with a big bank and wide, deep rock-cut ditch coming round from its north to its south-eastern side. The whole is grass-covered but recent ploughing has come right up to the outer edge of the ditch on the east. There are slight traces of possible buildings inside but on the other hand this is the site extensively excavated by P Gelling in the 1950's. It can legitimately be called "Fort" because, although small in extent, its enclosing features are defensive in that they are larger than strictly necessary merely to enclose. The ditch in particular must have represented a considerable labour (RCHM Field Notes (P J Fowler & H Welfare 16.4.84)). (PastScape)

very small promontory fort on coastal headland, capable of containing only a single dwelling, and thus coming within the normal definition of a castle, though their original data is Iron Age. reoccupied in the Viking period or even later (dates are uncertain) to form homesteads at least partly fortified (King 1983)

Comments (by Philip Davis)

Called a 'possible' castle by King (1983) although he tended to use this term for sites for which he had significant doubts.
Isolated from obvious medieval settlement, although less than 2 miles from Castletown. Clearly the pre-historic defenses were reused in the Viking period but there is no evidence that any such reuse was military or by a high status individual.
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This record last updated on Tuesday, April 18, 2017